Mid Century Modern Living Room: Style and Design Ideas

mid century modern living room

How to turn your living room in a mid century masterpiece

Mid century modern style remains a very common choice for stylish living rooms for decades. The timeless elegance and vintage aesthetic of this exceptionally influential design movement have stood the test of time, looking as stylish and cosy as they did when they first begun their global spread. Today, even homes which are not decorated in MCM style still feature various mid century modern designs.

The exceptional functionality paired with impeccable aesthetics and style proved to be a winning formula and the secret to unwavering popularity of this décor style. Ideal for those just beginning their journey in the world of interior design, but equally cherished by décor veterans, mid century modern style might determine the aesthetic of your living room with just a couple simple guideline that will help you transform your living room in a masterpiece of mid century décor.

What is a mid century style living room?

Defining mid century modern style in one sentence is a very challenging, if not impossible task, as this design movement relies not just on some core designs or materials, but a complex interplay of different décor elements, lighting architecture, furniture, colour. It has to do with sleek elegance, with precision of lines and forms, subtlety, streamlined appeal and inviting cosiness that hides behind even the most sculptural and avant-garde designs. A mid century modern living room design will make use of these different elements and create a warm vintage appeal with balanced stylistic expression. But, talking abstractions isn’t of much help here, so we shall dive into mid century modern living room ideas, tips and tricks in order to better grasp the specifics of this style.

Colour scheme of a mid century modern home

The specific use of colours or the choice of certain colour schemes is often put forward as good starting design idea. Mid century style might be somewhat different. This style certainly favours subtle colours, pastels, neutrals and earthy tones as well as those cool shades of green and blue reminiscent of the greenery of a pine forest or the deep shades of oceanic waves. But at the same time, mid century living room design can greatly benefit from splashes of warm, saturated and vibrant colours. You can either use them directly on your accent wall or you can include them through different décor elements such as curtains, carpets or furniture pieces. However, regardless of the choice of exact colours, mid century living room design ideas will always revolve around the ideas of subtlety and simplicity – even if you decide to go with some bright and vivid colours. In order to prevent overdoing it, just keep in mind that colour scheme should always be elegantly simple, with a relatively small number of colours and with proper neutrals always matching and providing context to the more vivid shades.

mid century color palette

Mid century living room furniture

Living room was in the focus of mid century modern furniture designers perhaps more than any other room in the modern home. So, there is no shortage of elegant and stylish mid century designs that will easily become quintessential décor elements in your stylish living room. Let’s take a quick look at some of the more common ones.

mid century living room set

Mid century living room set

A living room set is a phrase commonly used to define a collection of several core pieces of living room furniture that ideally match each other. While looking for a living room set will, in most cases, lead you to premade collections, there is nothing stopping you from making your own set. Most commonly, a mid century modern living room set will involve a sofa or two, and one or more coffee tables, end tables or side tables. Needless to say, each of these designs will be in characteristic mid century modern style, but at the same time, you should pay attention that they fit each other too.

For example, you should keep your end tables and side tables in the same colour palette, or at least in the same type of wood. Coffee table can be in a contrasting shade provided that you want it to be a focal point, or otherwise, you should keep it subtle too and then use your sofas and lounge chairs for chromatic variety. Another commonly mentioned design idea is to get couches in light upholstery but with dark legs and then match them with the dark wood of coffee and side tables and bright surface of the coffee table. So, just keep in mind that you colour scheme should be relatively simple and that you want furniture to fit in easily, so streamlined shapes should be the norm here. If you do so, you will have a mid century living room set ready in no time.

Mid century lounge chairs and accent chairs

Another quintessential element piece of any mid century modern living room is a chair – or more commonly, several of them. Chairs are a very important part of the legacy of mid century style, as many designers devoted special attention to them, so you should have an easy time finding an abundance of models at various retailers and online shops specializing in the era furniture. Lounge chairs are especially popular choice for the living room and they can easily serve as accent pieces and focal points of your design so you want to make sure that you have made the right choice before making the purchase. This means that you should make sure that the upholstery will provide the right stylistic expression (don’t take fabric upholstery if you are going for high-end elegance, not leather upholstery if you want your home to be informal, warm and inviting), that the colours match your colour scheme and finally, that the design as a whole will fit in with the overall aesthetic of your home.

The last consideration can be downplayed a bit – mid century modern living room chairs come with exceptional stylistic (and functional) versatility, so they can easily fit in in variously decorated rooms. However, there are still some things you should keep in mind. For example if wood is a prominent motif in your interior design, than it might make more sense to buy a living room chair which has at least wooden legs (as opposed to commonly used aluminium or stainless steel base) or ideally some more wooden elements (such as armrests, for example). Alternatively, if you have a leather sofa, it is very hard that you can make a wool-upholstered chair really work.

mid century living room lighting

Mid century living room lighting

As we have discussed mid century lighting architecture with all of its specifics and classics that are in high demand to this day, here we won’t go too in-depth with considerations of the same topic. However, it is still important to note that you should plan your lighting options early on when coming up with your décor plan. Lighting should be used cleverly to achieve ambience while at the same time providing your living room with proper options. So, it would make little sense to put a decorative lamp on your work desk, but a stylish and sleek table lamp in mid century style will do wonders, especially since you can put your decorative options elsewhere in the room. In either case, there are numerous options at your disposal and with majority of MCM style models being available in various colours, be sure that you’ll get the one that will fit in in your overall colour scheme.

Mid century living room décor ideas

Once you have the furniture and lighting down, you might notice that something is missing – and that something will be décor accessories that will tie the whole aesthetic into a solid whole and that will add a personal touch. There are no strict rules here, but mirrors (either large or small with sunburst motif frames), art prints and even stylised sculptures are absolutely sure to work well here. A stylish carpet that will match your colour palette will also be an outstanding addition to the décor of your room. Finally, house plants in nice stylish pots and stands can provide your living room with lovely natural green shades that are a perfect fit for the wooden elements dominant in mid century style. So, feel free to experiment, but always keep in mind that you want all your décor accessories to fit in with the basics and add something to the room without creating a sense of clutter.